"anns a'" vs "sa" etc?

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Ionatan
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"anns a'" vs "sa" etc?

Unread post by Ionatan » Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:25 am

I am sure this must have been asked before but my searches don't show it. Apologies if this has been covered but can somebody help me with when to use sa/san/san t- vs the full anns a'? As I understand it, the former is/are effectively a concatenation of anns a' (an). They seem to be interchangeable and I wonder if perhaps it's a bit like English concatenations e.g. "it is" vs "it's" (English doesn't have an equivalent concatenation of "in the" unless you count a Yorkshire-style "int'" as in "Where's t' milk? It's int' jug, ont' sideboard").

I understand when to use the different version of san (sa and san t-), so my question is as follows:
1) can san/sa/san t- be safely used interchangeably and as a matter of taste with the equivalent anns + a etc?
e.g. Bha Tormod anns a' chàr == Bha Tormod sa chàr or Tha Iain anns an taigh beag vs Tha Iain san taigh beag

2) if so, is san/sa/san t- any less formal than spelling it out in full (as might be supposed and as is the case in English)?
3) does the same answer apply to the plural sna vs anns na/nam etc?

As ever, ceud mìle taing



akerbeltz
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"anns a'" vs "sa" etc?

Unread post by akerbeltz » Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:02 pm

Semantically they're interchangeable. My personal take is that san/sa/sna are marginally more colloquial than anns an/anns na but I don't think there's much in it. To put it this way, I cannot envisage a scenario in which an essay might get marked down for using san/sa/sna over anns an/anns na.

Ionatan
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"anns a'" vs "sa" etc?

Unread post by Ionatan » Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:55 am

akerbeltz wrote:To put it this way, I cannot envisage a scenario in which an essay might get marked down for using san/sa/sna over anns an/anns na.
That's the acid test! :D

In Can Seo they tend to stick to anns an/na and in Learn Gaelic (rather more modern) they stick mostly to san/sa/san t-. Because I started with Can Seo and added Learn Gaelic later (it really lends itself to being turned rapidly into Anki cards) I say anns an/na more readily than san/sa/san t- but the latter "feels" a bit less "clunky" sometimes.

One semi-related question on concatenation - is it more colloquial to run tha and ann together, at least in speech (making a sound akin to houn (as in "you ain't nothing but a houn' dog")? This seems to be the trend in Can Seo but I have come across some audio (I forget where now) in which the presenter says it staccato "a tha ann" (vs (a' th'ann).

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"anns a'" vs "sa" etc?

Unread post by Níall Beag » Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:36 pm

Right up until the 90s, it was frowned upon to use contractions in English, which probably influenced the notion of "correct Gaelic". (At school, I wasn't allowed to write "he's" or "it's" unless it was in direct speech.)

Gaelic's now ahead of English in the sense that you're no longer penalised for writing the same language as people actually speak.

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"anns a'" vs "sa" etc?

Unread post by Níall Beag » Thu Oct 24, 2019 4:41 pm

Ionatan wrote:One semi-related question on concatenation - is it more colloquial to run tha and ann together, at least in speech (making a sound akin to houn (as in "you ain't nothing but a houn' dog")? This seems to be the trend in Can Seo but I have come across some audio (I forget where now) in which the presenter says it staccato "a tha ann" (vs (a' th'ann).
Very much so.

I personally picked up a habit of saying the full "tha" in certain circumstances, and "th' " in others. I'm now trying to get myself doing it consistently....

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"anns a'" vs "sa" etc?

Unread post by Ionatan » Sat Oct 26, 2019 5:28 pm

I have just come across instruction in LearnGaelic that says to use san/sa/san t- when you are saying in the but when you are saying in a you use ann an (see https://learngaelic.net/lg-beginners/js ... 8#screen_1). This is rather more prescriptive than Akerbeltz's take on it.
Níall Beag wrote: Very much so.

I personally picked up a habit of saying the full "tha" in certain circumstances, and "th' " in others. I'm now trying to get myself doing it consistently....
In Can Seo (which dates from the 1970s) they also often drop the "a'" and shorten "ag" to "'g" in verbal nouns (in speech not in writing however) - something like this:
Tha mi ag òl uisge-beatha - sounds like - Tha mi gòl uisge-beatha
Tha mi a' smaoineachadh gu bheil... - sounds like - Tha mi smaoineachadh gu bheil...

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"anns a'" vs "sa" etc?

Unread post by Níall Beag » Sat Oct 26, 2019 11:07 pm

Ionatan wrote: I have just come across instruction in LearnGaelic that says to use san/sa/san t- when you are saying in the but when you are saying in a you use ann an (see https://learngaelic.net/lg-beginners/js ... 8#screen_1). This is rather more prescriptive than Akerbeltz's take on it.
Well, teaching materials generally only give one way rather than confusing learners with too many options.

"ann an" for in or in a (i.e. no "the") is absolutely standard. You'll practically never see anything different.

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Re: "anns a'" vs "sa" etc?

Unread post by akerbeltz » Sat Nov 02, 2019 4:37 pm

There's a couple of relative simple phonetic rules which govern this in speech:
- if a word final vowel is identical the a following word initial vowel, delete vowel 1 (a tha ann [ə ha auN] > [ə hauN].
- word final weak vowels (the schwa) are always in danger of dropping off, especially at the end of a phrase or sentence and almost de rigeur if a schwa is followed by a vowel.

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